The Boston Red Sox placed outfielder Daniel Nava on the 15-Day disabled list Thursday, sources told WEEI.com’s John Tomase. Left-handed reliever Robbie Ross will be recalled to take his spot on the active roster.
The team has yet to specify an injury for Nava, leading us to speculate that the move could be performance related. Nava is hitting a paltry .159/.250/.190 in 63 at-bats as a part time outfielder and backup first baseman. He was being counted on to provide balance to the lineup as a switch-hitter off the bench, but has been ineffective from both sides of the plate.
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There were some that believed Nava could be designated for assignment if he didn’t start producing, while Wednesday’s acquisition of left-handed power hitter Carlos Peguero poured gasoline on the fire to those rumors. Sending him to the DL allows the Red Sox to replace Nava with a more productive player, while allowing them to keep him in the organization. Since he is out of options, Nava could not be sent down to the minors without passing through waivers.
Nava may be given a mental break to collect himself before being sent on a “rehab” assignment to try to find his swing at the minor league level. He does have a track record of using the motivation of a demotion to revitalize his season, which is why the Red Sox are likely going in this direction rather than releasing him. Last season Nava was sent down to Pawtucket after hitting .149 over his first 67 at-bats, but rebounded to hit .297 after he returned in late May.
Ross rejoins the bullpen hoping that his brief demotion leads to a similar turnaround. He has been knocked around to the tune of a 5.14 ERA and 23 base runners allowed in 14.0 innings of relief.